Welcome to week two of JRPG recommendations, this week we are covering the adorable and charming Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you have not yet heard of this game, it is the love child of Level-5 games who have made some other great JRPGs ( We probably will see them again on our list) most recently they are the makers of the Yo-Kai Watch games, and the non JRPG franchise Professor Layton. As well as Studio Ghibili, the anime studio that produced beloved movies like My Neighbor Tortoro, Howls Moving Castle, Spirited Away and my all time favorite anime Kiki’s Delivery Service.
The game started off as a Japan exclusive for the DS, called Ni No Kuni: Dominion Of The Dark Djinn. We would get that game here in the states three years on the PlayStation 3 later in 2013 as wrath of the white witch. The PlayStation 3 version was not just an upscaled version of the game it featured a more dynamic combat system, extended story, and minor name changes for the west, but enough background lets talk about what makes this game a masterpiece in the genre.
You play as young Oliver, a 10 year old boy who lives with his mother in the town of Motorville. You spend your days working on a secret go kart with your best friend Philip. You live a rather wholesome life in an idyllic town, until it becomes clear some dark forces are a foot. You sneak out at night to test your kart with Philip and after a malevolent force tampers with the kart young Oliver is sent off in to the river. Thankfully Oliver’s mother woke up and is able to save him. Unfortunately due to a heart condition the ice cold water mixed with the fear of losing her only son causes her to pass. Your taken in by a trusted neighbor and all you can do is cry, clutching a toy your mother gave you at a much younger age.. Then it comes to life and tells you he is the lord high lord of all fairies. Drippy is his name and he explains that you can bring your mom back to life by going into the magical world and finding Alicia the sage who besides looking just like Oliver’s mother has a magical tie to her. You must locate a Wand and Spell book, the spell book is inside the chimney, and the wand is found after meeting a strange girl that disappears after Drippy comes to see if Oliver found the wand. After this you travel to the other magical world and your real adventure begins.
Now I do not want to spoil a moment of the game but it’s difficult when talking about gameplay. Yes I know I just gave you the first 30 minutes of the game up top but that all happens very fast and you don’t even get started really until you get into the other world. There are so many game play mechanics all of which are introduced in just the right measure so your never given to much to learn to soon. So this synopsis will all occur over the course of this game and I wont include everything because I want to leave some of the magic for your journey. First you gain the power of a familiar or little monster that aids you in combat. You can switch between you and the familiar and share a life bar. Familiars do more physical damage but your magic can be damaging at the cost of MP. Familiars cant fight forever as they have a stamina gauge and most be called back. You eventually get to control other familiars in by fighting them and then using a special skill to recruit them to your team. You also get new team members which either are AI controlled or if you want can take over and let Oliver be AI controlled.
You eventually get the ability to make your own items by learning recipes or trying to make your own concoctions. This is key to the game as you will need to sometimes make a weapon for a familiar or a defensive item for the environment your in. The biggest game play mechanic and the last one I am going to talk about is the ability to restore hearts. The dark djinn has broken peoples hearts and you are the only one who can restore them. By identifying what a person is lacking like courage and finding someone with an abundance and simply transplanting into the afflicted. This becomes key as most times you need to heal a heart to progress in the story.
I know this has been a long post and there is so much more I could talk about but I still want you to go into this game without me ruining it all for you. The game is cheap as dirty at Game Stop and PlayStation store sales have made this game as cheap as 4 dollars. So there is always an affordable way to pick it up if you have a PS3. This game is one of the best JRPGs ever and your doing yourself a major disservice by not picking it up. Make sure to check back next week as we will be tackling another JRPG, and let me know in the comments what games you would like to see covered here!
( Oh yeah and there is a sequel coming to PS4 that I can’t freaking wait for)
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